Book review: Rao V.B.J. Chelikani, Civics of Human Relations

Date01 December 2020
Publication Date01 December 2020
AuthorAshok Vishandass
SubjectBook Reviews
Indian Journal of Public
66(4) 609–617, 2020
© 2021 IIPA
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DOI: 10.1177/0019556120976582
Book Reviews
Rao V.B.J. Chelikani, Civics of Human Relations. Chennai: Notion Press,
2019, pp. 506, `515.00 (Paperback). ISBN- 978-1-64546-579-9.
The book Civics of Human Relations focuses on the improvement of human rela-
tions and human development. It delineates that human relations would have
evolved harmoniously had the social institutions been built based on economic
and cultural bonds as its smooth functioning demands mutual trust and coopera-
tion. Through this book, the author seeks to take readers on a ‘conducted tour’ of
human relations, dissecting a wide spectrum of facets of civics of human rela-
tions. These facets range from humane values for a new society, redefining
democracy with Asian values, cultural revolution in public service, dialogue and
decision-making, economic and social inequalities to aesthetic living. India is
slipping on the World Happiness Index from the 118th position in 2016 to 140th
in 2019. We are living in an evolving high-handed state and its bureaucracy.
Humans are not born angels but are capable of becoming ones. There is already a
higher state of being, within each human being. We generate alluring attributes
like passions and affection and seek a response from others. The author argues
that the ‘innate human resources’ of prenatal life of the foetus such as creativity
and solidarity be articulated and shared for forging better human relations.
India has always been resilient in a subtler way in so far as her Asian culture
is concerned. Those who touched the shores of the western coast got completely
absorbed into mainstream society over a while. However, some religions in India
could not be absorbed fully into the Indian cultural melting pot. We can still do
so by involving them and integrating them with the process of economic growth.
India won her freedom, without waging any war against any religion and without
having her army—a fact which bears testimony to the inner strength of her culture.
The freedom movement of India comprised a series of sustained negotiations,
persuasions and dialogues rather than bloodshed between cultures and ‘interest
blocks’. Ever since India attained Independence more than seven decades ago, the
country has not made any significant effort to strive for the emotional integration
of different parts of the country. The north Indian border regions have remained
partially unintegrated into our cultural mainstream. In this scenario, we cannot
take pride that we have attained cultural democracy in the country.
There is a tendency in the human species to be distinct and different while co-
existing in a group, probably borne out of insecurity and fear of deprivation. At the

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